The Hub 585’s Life Launch program to provide mentorship for at-risk youth

The Hub 585’s Life Launch program to provide mentorship for at-risk youth

The Hub 585 is expanding its services, launching a mentorship program for teens aging out of foster care.  

The move comes after the organization recently hit a milestone of assisting 900 foster children in Monroe County through its CarePortal.  

The Hub 585 works to preserve families and protect children. Its mission is to educate, enrich and empower youth and families through programs and partnerships that give them hope and help them thrive. 


“We want them to know the future is better than the past and they have the power to make it happen,” said Ashley Cross, the Hub 585’s founder and executive director.  

The agency’s vision is to see a city restored and believes that happens through strengthening families and protecting children. 

Its first major initiative began in 2019 with the creation of the Monroe County CarePortal.  

A CarePortal is a platform that allows a network of churches, community members and local child welfare stakeholders to collaborate for the benefit of children and families, namely by connecting children in foster care with the physical and relational resources they need. 

While the CarePortal has had the most impact for the organization, Cross believes the new Life Launch program will have similar outcomes.  

The program — which will launch in June — is dedicated to ensuring all youth ages 13 to 18 in Monroe County foster care have the committed durable relationships in their lives to ensure their success and wellbeing as they prepare and move toward independence. 

Individuals who are near aging out of foster care face many challenges and are more likely than others to not finish high school, become pregnant at an early age or find themselves homeless.  

The Life Launch program is one way to limit the chances of these outcomes, Cross said.  

The pilot program will include 15 teens who will each have a team of mentors to help them form a social network of support that could lead to a good job or educational opportunity. 

Cross is looking for adult mentors, including those in the business community, noting a group of colleagues could come together and serve as a mentorship team for a teen in need.  

Volunteers would make a one-year commitment to the program, engage with their mentee weekly and volunteer at least three hours each month.  

Businesses have other opportunities to support the Hub 585, including making donations to the Dr. Sherri Tapp Legacy Fund. The fund supports children aging out of foster care by providing funds and scholarships to assist them during their transition to adulthood. 

Tapp served as a professor at Oral Roberts University, where Cross received her Doctor of Education degree, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees. Tapp previously worked with the state of Oklahoma, first with juvenile offenders, then supervising child abuse and neglect investigations for the state’s Human Services department.  

The Hub 585 provides additional services and support, as well, including the Voices of Hope program, which is a project-based curriculum that encourages youth to share their stories, with the goal of becoming published authors.  

The agency also runs the Hope Center on Chestnut Street, where it partners with community agencies to provide a safe space for youth and families, including the Society for the Protection and Care of Children and Saving AJ Inc. 

The organization has a small staff and relies on volunteers and partnerships with other agencies to work toward its mission, Cross said.  

The work is a passion for Cross, who established the first girls’ home in Tulsa, Okla., and raised awareness in the city about the issues concerning girls in foster care and youth aging out. 

“This is way more than a career for me,” she said.  

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